English 625

ENGL 625: Advanced Young Adult Literature in a Digital Age

Prerequisites: None

Credits: (3)

This course investigates the nature of online and e-reader-based materials targeted explicitly at young adults, including e-book versions of traditional young adult selections.  In addition, materials often at odds with mainstream cultural values of literary merit,  including such non-traditional materials as are found in role-playing environments, social media sites, e-publishing and self-publishing, and graphic novel genres will be considered.  Students will develop Universal Design for Learning (UDL)-based lessons and larger, cohesive plans involving reading materials from a variety of the domains noted above.


Detailed Description of Course

ENGL 625 offers students the opportunity to investigate in more depth the very definition of the genre, both in its ambiguous tradition as something between children’s books and adult books, and in its widely popularized identity as a source of teen books that typically describe teens with social and emotional problems.  Additionally, the course attends to the changing nature of the genre as it encompasses Manga and other graphic and/or online forms, and including role playing avatars and gaming personas as autobiographic alter egos.  Sites such as Tumblr, Pinterest, Smashwords, Teenreads, Twitter, Sparknotes, and role playing game (RPG) sites such as The Elder Scrolls V, Transistor, Final Fantasy, Monster Hunter, and Dark Souls, along with other contemporary sites are investigated for narrative and literary engagement and analysis, both thematically and conceptually.  A variety of more traditional instructional activities (e.g., literature circles, book talks, book reviews, etc. as are found in typical undergraduate courses on the literature for adolescents) are analyzed for online compatibility and effective engagement for promoting both critical reading and literary analysis, and for the purpose of introducing readers to cultural archetypes found across all domains of literature, in all media.  Students explore how digital content and media may or may not lend itself to Universal Design for Learning models, and as Assistive Technology.  Finally, students briefly consider the nature of challenges from the community and parents regarding the use of both controversial reading selections, but also challenges centered on the medium and media (Internet and e-reader and digital sources) itself.


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

ENGL 625 offers a variety of learning opportunities which may include but are not limited to student involvement in whole-class threaded discussions, small-group projects carried out through online collaboration, independent and collaborative research, individual reading responses to selections taken from reference texts (responses typically posted as journal entries for further discussion), individualized instructional planning activities for online and traditional delivery, peer editing and review work in threaded discussion spaces, and video and open publishing projects (blog, glog, wiki, vimeo, etc.).  Additional work may include traditional essays with researched content.


Goals and Objectives of this Course

Upon completion of this course, students will:

1. Be able to describe the nature of digital content in young adult literature.

2. Be able to identify and describe a variety (at least 4) of non-traditional narrative sources contemporarily available on the Internet, and of interest to teens.

3. Be able to prepare lesson and unit plans consistent with the principles of Universal Design for Learning and based on digital, literary content appropriate for contemporary teen readers.

4. Be able to articulate rationales and defenses to support the use of potentially controversial materials of interest to young adult readers in online and traditional learning environments.

5. Be able to identify resources available to support the defense of challenged materials in young adult selections in literature.


Assessment Measures

ENGL 625 uses a variety of assessment measures, which may include but is not limited to:

• writing activities such as readers’ logs, journals and threaded discussions

• examinations on assigned readings

• essays on assigned topics and on student-selected topics

• formal, researched essays on assigned or student selected topics

• digital media-based presentations and open publishing products such as blog entries and videos

• short instructional plans designed to address specific topic and audiences in language arts

• longer instructional plans designed to address multiple topics in language arts with an identifiable, shared theme


Other Course Information



Review and Approval

May 15, 2013